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Really reliable tools brands

Old 06-21-24, 10:12 AM
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Really reliable tools brands

Hi,
I had to change a Shimano 11 speed MTB cassette. I bought some BBB tools : a BTL 11S a BTL 12S and a BTL05. I broke two of them.
I'm really neither patient nor gifted, but I had to go back to the bike mechanic with the wheel. He replaced the cassette in less than 10 minutes. Perhaps the WD40 applied for 24 hours helped ?

Next time, I plan to buy more robust tools. Which brands are really foolproof ?
Park Tools
Crank Brothers
Pedro's
Unior
Any other brand ?
I'm living in France. The nearest bike shop is at an hour by car from my place.
Since it's mostly for home use, the weight and dimensions are not really important. My touring bike have a Rohloff/Gates transmission and Magura hydraulic rim brakes.
Thanks for your advices.


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Old 06-21-24, 10:18 AM
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If you want to spend a lot of money... https://www.abbeybiketools.com/
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Old 06-21-24, 10:33 AM
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Park Tool

Unless it's a specific tool they don't offer (i.e. legacy freewheel remover) I only use Park Tools...and have never had a problem.

Since they have an excellent online knowledge base plus lots of how-to and other videos, I don't mind paying a couple of extra bucks for their high quality tools. Their support is excellent too.

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Old 06-21-24, 11:04 AM
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This stuff is easily Park level, or better... https://feedbacksports.com/collections/bike-maintenance
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Old 06-21-24, 11:08 AM
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in Europe Unior may be more easy to find and it is good stuff
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Old 06-21-24, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by yves845
Hi,
I had to change a Shimano 11 speed MTB cassette. I bought some BBB tools : a BTL 11S a BTL 12S and a BTL05. I broke two of them.
I'm really neither patient nor gifted, but I had to go back to the bike mechanic with the wheel. He replaced the cassette in less than 10 minutes. Perhaps the WD40 applied for 24 hours helped ?

Next time, I plan to buy more robust tools. Which brands are really foolproof ?
Park Tools
Crank Brothers
Pedro's
Unior
Any other brand ?
I'm living in France. The nearest bike shop is at an hour by car from my place.
Since it's mostly for home use, the weight and dimensions are not really important. My touring bike have a Rohloff/Gates transmission and Magura hydraulic rim brakes.
Thanks for your advices.
Unless the tools you used were made of aluminum foil (and BBB tools look to be perfectly adequate), I don't see how you broke multiple tools removing a cassette lockring that was likely torqued to only 30-40 Nm. I suspect there's more at play here than "lack of tool quality"
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Old 06-21-24, 05:55 PM
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Cyclus is a well known brand of high quality bike tools.
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Old 06-21-24, 10:07 PM
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As previously stated, Unior is an available brand in the EU and I own a couple of their tools. On par with Park tools in quality. For bike-specific tools I recommend Park but VAR (French), Unior and Hozan are very good also.

For Allen keys I recommend, at a minimum, Bundhus but PB Swiss are far better, but expensive. Don't skimp on Allen keys, buy the absolute best (PB Swiss in my opinion) because you will use them all the time and PB Swiss fit better than any other Allen keys I've used. You will own them for life.

For screw drivers I like Mac Tools screwdrivers but Snap-On are great too. In the EU Wera's are very good. VAR tools still exist, a French company, and they were a mainstay of bike tools throughout the 1960's and 1970's but when Park came along State-side I think they lost market share here.

Best advice is don't buy a "set" of bike tools. Buy specifically what you need and the very, very best. In the long run those tools will pay off far more than cheaper tools in performance, fit and longevity.
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Old 06-21-24, 11:25 PM
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+1 for Unior. Keep in mind all tools can break, but some are better than others. I always like the old VAR tools. The new ones are supposed to be just as good, but the price has me buying other stuff. Park is usually good, but the good stuff can be pricy and they have a line of home mechanics tools that are not easy to differentiate from their pro tools. I like their cone wrenches. Just the right hardness.

I also have some Pedro's and think it is equal to Park. This tool below will last forever and can eventually be repurposed in the next century.


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Old 06-22-24, 12:27 AM
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+1 for Unior, especially the 11T/12T cassette wrench. So much better than using a chain whip.
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Old 06-22-24, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 13ollocks
Unless the tools you used were made of aluminum foil (and BBB tools look to be perfectly adequate), I don't see how you broke multiple tools removing a cassette lockring that was likely torqued to only 30-40 Nm. I suspect there's more at play here than "lack of tool quality"
I'm not a gifted mechanics, as I said. But It's a Hi Speedelec Cargo, so I suspect the torque is relatively higher after 2500 km of use.
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Old 06-22-24, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by yves845
I'm not a gifted mechanics, as I said. But It's a Hi Speedelec Cargo, so I suspect the torque is relatively higher after 2500 km of use.
The lockring should not be affected by torque on the cassette, that is carried on the splines - the lockring only clamps the sprockets against the shoulder on the freehub body. You have to be doing something wrong to break a reasonable quality cassette lockring tool, unless someone used a strong threadlock; the serrated interface between lockring and top sprocket should obviate any need for that, but if it is suspected then some heat should fix it.
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Old 06-22-24, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by yves845
I plan to buy more robust tools. Which brands are really foolproof ?
Park Tools
Crank Brothers
Pedro's
Unior
Any other brand ?
I'm living in France.
Since you're living in France, why not VAR?
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Old 06-22-24, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by yves845
Really reliable tools brands
For general tools (beyond bicycle repair), I have found Knipex to be very durable and reliable. Pliers, needle-nose pliers, nippers, cable cutters, and more. They're made in Germany.

https://www.knipex.com
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Old 06-23-24, 12:38 PM
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Felco make the best cable cutters I have used. Mine are decades old and as good as the day I bought them. https://felco.com/en_us/products/cable-cutters/felco-c3 https://felco.com/en_us/products/cable-cutters/felco-c7
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Old 06-23-24, 01:47 PM
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Over the years, I've accumulated tools made by Park, Pedro's, Hozan, Stein and Spin Doctor, as well as many 50-year-old Craftsman tools. At my level of use (mainly on my own bikes), all these have been more than adequate.
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Old 06-23-24, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for all your advices, I think it's going to be a combination of Unior and Park
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Old 06-23-24, 04:11 PM
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For bicycle specific tools Abbey if they have it Park, Unior or VAR if they don't for non-specific tools like hex wrenches buy the absolute best quality ones you can get from a company that specializes more in that. PB-Swiss would be my go to for hex wrenches though T handles I might do Beta (since you are in Europe you might have an easier time getting them) for cable and housing cutting, Knipex or Felco would be that choice (as well as Knipex for other pliers and things like that).

I will also say Wera makes a bunch of great tools. I cannot say I love their hex wrenches but they are good quality but I think PB edges them out but they have some bicycle specific tools and some other general tools which are quite nice and probably more easy to get than those same tools from Snap-On and maybe not quite as nice as Snap-On but a bit cheaper and still quite decent.

In the end it is just about spending money and you can do it at the beginning once and have those tools for decades or you can do it multiple times and spend more with broken parts and stuff like that.

Park and Pedro's and the other equivalents in Europe are fine hobbyist tools and some of their really specific bicycle stuff is good but there are so many better tools out there for the non-bicycle stuff and some of the bicycle stuff that I am pretty picky about that. Though I will say Park does do an excellent job of teaching through their site and videos as well as entertaining videos and certainly for a new shop who just wants to buy tools quick and not have to shop and piecemeal it they do well. However I like my box to be filled with whatever tools are best not brand specific though there are brands I stick with because I know they are of quality and will last but if the tool isn't right I ain't gonna buy it.
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Old 06-23-24, 06:42 PM
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Park were professional grade tools used in most shops back in the day; things have probably changed. I wouldn’t trade my Hozan fourth hand for anything though.
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Old 06-23-24, 07:13 PM
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I’m a working mechanic, and the majority of my tools at work are Park. They’re almost always professional quality and are price competitive for professional tools—some things they do better than others, as with most brands. They are pretty good, in the US at least, of having spare parts and their pricing for sharpening and calibration are fair.

Pedros, Unior, Var, Hozan, Feedback, Shimano etc are all pro quality and I’m not tied to any of them in particular. For some non-bike-specific tools you can sometimes get better pricing and/or quality with non bike brands—Bondhus, Wiha, Wera, Knipex etc. Boutique stuff like Abbey and EVT are sometimes significantly better, but you have to pick your priorities with regard to price.

Some not-quite professional tools are fine for home mechanics. You just need to be aware of when you really need quality.

I’m sure I have at least every brand I mentioned in my tool kit at work and more.
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Old 06-23-24, 07:52 PM
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Removing a lockring, especially one that was over-torqued, requires a bit of technique.

Lock ring tools with a guide pin keep things in alignment better. I use a chain whip that has a hole at the end of the handle. When necessary, I will thread a rope through it and wrap it around the tire a few times and tie it off. This is like a third hand to hold the chain whip in place.

Then using an 18” breaker bar and my left hand to keep the lock ring tool engaged and straight, it makes short work of it.

John
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Old 06-24-24, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach
I’m a working mechanic, and the majority of my tools at work are Park. They’re almost always professional quality and are price competitive for professional tools—some things they do better than others, as with most brands. They are pretty good, in the US at least, of having spare parts and their pricing for sharpening and calibration are fair.

Pedros, Unior, Var, Hozan, Feedback, Shimano etc are all pro quality and I’m not tied to any of them in particular. For some non-bike-specific tools you can sometimes get better pricing and/or quality with non bike brands—Bondhus, Wiha, Wera, Knipex etc. Boutique stuff like Abbey and EVT are sometimes significantly better, but you have to pick your priorities with regard to price.

Some not-quite professional tools are fine for home mechanics. You just need to be aware of when you really need quality.

I’m sure I have at least every brand I mentioned in my tool kit at work and more.
Thanks !
The shop where I went was selling almost exclusively BBB tools, but the guy who replaced the cassette had, first off, experience, which I lack ! And much longer tools.
My Riese & Muller electric cargo is a heavy beast. I've never seen a bike shop with a stand able to support it.


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Old 06-24-24, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by yves845
Thanks !
The shop where I went was selling almost exclusively BBB tools, but the guy who replaced the cassette had, first off, experience, which I lack ! And much longer tools.
My Riese & Muller electric cargo is a heavy beast. I've never seen a bike shop with a stand able to support it.
We used the Park Tool electric stands and then something underneath the cargo box (assuming a Load or Packster). I think we generally used a stool or something like that.

For home usage there isn't really much that will work as well especially for a single person. The Topeak E-Up stand is not going to handle that weight as well but could be done in an emergency with two people and something sturdy to hold up the front really well.

However what I might recommend is something that can support the entire front box safely. If you can get a good board you could potentially just wheel it up on top of it to a degree.Or use a motorcycle stand. We had planned something like that but in the end we didn't get one simply because we always adapted when needed.
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Old 06-25-24, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
Removing a lockring, especially one that was over-torqued, requires a bit of technique.

Lock ring tools with a guide pin keep things in alignment better. I use a chain whip that has a hole at the end of the handle. When necessary, I will thread a rope through it and wrap it around the tire a few times and tie it off. This is like a third hand to hold the chain whip in place.

Then using an 18” breaker bar and my left hand to keep the lock ring tool engaged and straight, it makes short work of it.

John
You shouldn't need to tie off the chain whip. Cross the handles of the chain whip and the breaker bar so when you squeeze them with your hands the lock ring will turn anti-clockwise. I find it is easier if I put the wheel in an axle vise so I don't have to balance everything. Better still is to get rid of the chain whip and use a locking whip like the Pedro's Vise Whip. Much easier to use, and you don't need to balance anything.
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Old 06-25-24, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
... Lock ring tools with a guide pin keep things in alignment better. I use a chain whip that has a hole at the end of the handle. ...
Lock ring tools with guide pins are great. That is why I have two: one with a pin sized for QR skewers, the other with a pin sized for 12 mm thru axles. I find that a cassette wrench works better than a chain whip because one does not have to arrange the chain whip in a way to prevent the chain from coming loose from the cassette. I recommend this cassette wrench: Cassette Wrench - 1670/2BI-US – Unior USA.

Originally Posted by RGMN
... Cross the handles of the chain whip and the breaker bar so when you squeeze them with your hands the lock ring will turn anti-clockwise. ...
Fully agreed. The key aspect is to arrange the respective handles of the two tools (e.g., cassette long ring tool on breaker bar and cassette wrench / chain whip) about 30 degrees apart so one can use both hands to squeeze the handles toward each other to loosen the cassette lock ring.


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